Is there any information on the colours of the various pieces of metalwork supplied on the Billing model (cannons, deadeyes, eyebolts, chain plates, etc). Should I blacken the brass for any or all of these, or leave as is?
Very often this is an aesthetic choice, but if you are interested in the original colors we have some information. The guns were cast in a high-copper bronze and left unpainted, which oxidized within a year to a dull, metallic purplish-brown with bright highlights in areas of wear. All of the rest of the metal fittings on the ship (or at least all of those which could be seen) were in iron. Shipyard accounts suggest that iron work was blackened with a mixture of soot and linseed oil, and the gun carriages were painted with this same mixture, effectively matt black paint. It is not a very effective sealant over the long haul, so needed frequent renewal. One could expect iron fittings to rust and stain surrounding wood (oak turns black in the presence of iron salts). The bolt heads on the hull exterior were covered by the same tar used to protect the timber, which is a more effective coating than the black paint. Blackening your brass fittings is thus probably an accurate representation.